Album cover art featuring repeated images of flower blossoms and the name "Avellana"

Jazz Studies students form new jazz-pop group, release debut EP

A quartet of undergraduate students in USC Thornton’s Jazz Studies program came together to form new jazz-pop group Avellana, and released their debut EP of the same name on Sept. 18. The group is comprised of vocalist Hazle Thunes (BA ‘22), pianist Austen Mendoza (BM ‘22), bassist Dario Bizio (BM ‘23), and drummer Carter Boyle (BM ‘22).

Mendoza and Thunes first started writing music together more than a year ago, and together with Bizio and Boyle they recorded the EP’s six tracks in March of 2020. “We wanted to create a sound that blended our jazz backgrounds with more modern pop sounds and production ideas,” Thunes said.

Four musicians of Avellana group standing side by side in front of greenery

From left to right, Avellana members Carter Boyle, Dario Bizio, Hazle Thunes, and Austen Mendoza. (Photo courtesy of Avellana)

After mandated closures meant they’d have to continue the album’s production virtually, the group turned to fellow Jazz Studies student Spencer Lemann (BM ’21) to mix and master the tracks remotely, working with the group over Zoom. But, Thunes says, they were determined to bring the project to fruition. “I think it is a testament to our desire to release our music that we overcame the added challenge of our physical distance and managed to finalize the project in a way that represents the time it was created in.”

Listen to Avellana’s debut EP, AVELLANA.

TAGS: Contemporary Music, Contemporary Music Division, Jazz Studies,